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. now i'll ask about the faa furloughs, which started yesterday. a group of almost the entire airline industry, including air traffic controller unions, flight attendants, pilot unions, and the industry itself, have written denis mcdonough and the white house a letter saying that the faa should be granted flexibility so they don't have to furlough the air traffic controllers. what do you say to this broad coalition? they say that other agencies have been given such flexibility and they believe the faa should have the same flexibility. >> let me give you some facts. the department of transportation is required by law to cut about $1 billion between now and the end of september; $637 million of that comes from the faa. the faa has initiated a series of cost-saving measures for personnel and non-personnel related, including a hiring freeze, restrictions on travel, termination of certain temporary employees, and reductions to contracts, among other savings. but furloughs cannot be avoided. seventy percent of the faa's operations budget is personnel. the faa must furlough 47,000 employees
for more flight delays triggered by the sequester. some of the busiest airports fell behind schedule. faa furloughs went into effect leaving fewer air traffic controllers on the job and we have more from abc's matt gutman. >> reporter: the delays piled up in charlotte. waits up to 75 minutes at baltimore washington and at all three new york airports. >> when you have cuts like this, it's not good. it's one of the very few jobs, i think, that should not have one. >> reporter: the faa didn't mince words, blaming most of the backlog on federal budget cuts. the agency said, the crunch forced it to furlough its air traffic controllers one day every other week. it saves the agency nearly $640 million, but the faa says it could cost travelers 90-minute delays on 6,700 flights every day. and the early numbers show delays at baltimore washington anew york's laguardia, spiking fourfold over last monday. part of that could be weather related. but at other airports like philadelphia, not much change. to see for ourselves, we boarded a flight in miami for orlando. here's the confusing thing. the fligh
at the airport. the f.a.a. imposing furloughs on thousands of employees. those cuts are being blamed on sequester. guess what? delays, delays, delays. >>steve: with fewer workers responsible for the same number of planes that means you're going to have to wait. here now stuart varney, we're not going to make him wait. the scare quester didn't work. now what they're trying to do is inflict pain. people are going to sit on planes, they're going to call their congressmen. "you've got to do something about it! " >> that's right. quick pop quiz. did you know the f.a.a., the people who run the air traffic system, this year they will spend $500 million on consultants, $325 million on supplies and travel, $474 million on grants to make communities more livable and sustainable. >>steve: are you saying there's money available where they don't have to furlough those guys? >> exactly. why don't you take some of that money and put it into the air traffic controllers' bucket so we don't have to have these delays? because the president says we don't have the flexibility. we cannot redirect spending. not allowed
, i think they should furlough the president and congress. >> the faa claims it had no choice but to put 15,000 controllers on unpaid furloughs, which means 10% fewer of them working each day. that could mean delays of 3 1/2 hours in atlanta, two hours in chicago and 1 hour and 20 minutes in laguardia. the airlines are furious and argue there are other places to cut. >> the air traffic controllers have never been furloughed. they should not be furloughed now. >> the controllers complain they're being used as political pawns. >> it's the piece of sequestration that affects americans the most. and i don't think that it's fair that air traffic control, particularly air traffic controllers are being used as a pawn. >> ray lahood has a message. >> tell them to fix sequester, and this will go away. >> the administration seems to be saying that any solution to put the air traffic controllers to work must include an overall roll back of the sequester. which does not look like something that's going to happen any time soon. the next few months could be a nightmare for travelers. >> the
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